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Luhm: Boozer has earned everything he's getting from bad PR moves
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

This whole unhappy Carlos Boozer Saga started, it seems to me, last December.

After the injury-battered Jazz scored what should have been an uplifting win at New Jersey, Boozer ruined the moment for everyone but his accountant by telling an ESPN reporter that he planned to opt out of his contract at the end of the season because, no matter what happened after that, he'd get a raise.

Boozer gave the selfish-sounding interview in street clothes, after missing another game with a knee injury that kept him out two more months and, in reality, negatively impacted his entire season.

Boozer's timing was so strange -- so anti-teammate -- that the Jazz's late owner, Larry Miller, called it the "one of the top 10 stupidest things I've heard an NBA player do in 20 years."

Jazz fans, especially those still trying to figure out exactly how they felt about the All-Star power forward because his injury-filled past and defensive shortcomings, eagerly agreed with Miller.

Suddenly, the general mistrust of Carlos Boozer and his motives along the Wasatch Front became as obvious as Mt. Olympus on a cloudless morning.

It got worse.

Boozer became Exhibit A for those looking for an explanation of why the Jazz stumbled down the stretch, finished eighth in the Western Conference and fell meekly to the top-seeded Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

Boozer should have learned a lesson from his mistake in New Jersey.

But he didn't.

This summer -- after deciding there were 12.7 million reasons to not opt-out of his contract, by the way -- Boozer's lack of sensitivity to the existing situation surfaced again.

In two radio interviews in Chicago and another on Monday in Miami, Boozer once again came across as a me-first jock who is not doing justice to the education he received at Duke.

His Miami interview, in particular, was a one that will never be replayed in Public Relations 101.

Once again, Boozer said he expected to be traded, although he stopped short of saying the Jazz had "guaranteed" they would find him a new home, which he had done in Chicago two weeks earlier.

Boozer also claimed he wasn't going to pressure the Jazz into make a trade.

"That's not my style. It's not me and what we do," he said.

Huh?

Then, host Joe Rose asked about playing for the Miami Heat and teaming with All-Star Dwyane Wade.

Boozer blew the answer.

Explaining that a major benefit of playing in Miami would involve the lack of a Florida state income tax, he said, "Especially in this economy. With the lull that we're having, obviously it's a great [incentive] to not have to pay a state tax.

"As fortunate as we are to have the jobs that we do, it's still tough when you're getting hit by the taxes that we get hit by. And we're all going through a tough time right now financially. ... [So] to live in a place where you don't have to pay state tax, it gives you a little bit more of the money that you earn in your bank account."

Now remember.

It will take a cop or a teacher who makes $50,000 annually about 254 years to earn what Boozer will be paid next season.

It's also unlikely that the cop and teacher could miss one out of every three days of work with injuries or illness and keep their jobs, which is what Boozer has done as a member of the Jazz.

Of course, that was the most unfortunate part of the interview.

While trying to sound like the average working stiff who must consider every option in order to survive the current economic mess, Boozer came across like most other pro athletes who does the same thing.

Out of touch.

luhm@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">luhm@sltrib.com

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